Braves 5, Marlins 2

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ATLANTA (AP)—Russ Ortiz isn’t doing anything different than he has in the past. There’s only one change—this season, he’s getting lots of runs.

Ortiz won his seventh consecutive start and became the NL’s first 14-game winner and Javy Lopez hit a two-run homer Thursday as the Atlanta Braves beat the Florida Marlins 5-2.

“I feel like I’ve pitched well all year and I’ve had good numbers through July before,” said Ortiz. “But this year these guys have scored a lot of runs for me and bailed me out several times.”

The Braves have scored 126 runs in his 22 starts (5.7 runs a game).

“The wins are in my column, but that doesn’t really concern me. The main thing is that we win when I’m on the mound,” he said.

The Braves are 17-5 this season in games Ortiz started. He is tied with Toronto’s Roy Halladay and Baltimore’s Sidney Ponson for the most wins in the majors.

Atlanta, winners of 15 of their last 18, improved the best record in baseball to 67-34. The Marlins had a three-game winning streak end.

Ortiz (14-4) went six innings. The right-hander allowed two runs, seven hits, walked two and struck out five. He threw 108 pitches, 66 for strikes.

“The third inning killed my pitch count,” said Ortiz, who needed 28 pitches to get out of a bases-loaded, two-out situation. “The rest of the time I felt like I did what I wanted to do,” he said.

Ortiz struck out Derrek Lee to escape his biggest jam.

“We had the bases loaded but he just made some good pitches at the right time,” said Florida manager Jack McKeon. “We just couldn’t get the key hit. Give Ortiz credit. He was tough when he had to be tough.”

The seven straight wins matched Ortiz’s career-high set in 2000 when he was with the San Francisco Giants. He was 14-12 that season.

John Smoltz pitched the ninth for his 37th save in 39 chances.

Lopez put the Braves ahead 3-1 in the fourth with his 411-foot drive over the center-field fence off Brad Penny (8-8).

It was the fourth home run in 12 at-bats for Lopez over a four-game span.

Penny pitched five innings and allowed eight hits and five runs.

“I didn’t have really good curveball,” said Penny, who relied on his 92-93 mph fastball most of the game.

One that hurt was the pitch to Lopez.

“It was a fastball, up. It would have been a good pitch if it had been down, but it wasn’t,” said Penny.

The Marlins scored in the first inning on consecutive one-out singles by Luis Castillo and Mike Redmond and a sacrifice fly by Mike Lowell. Florida added a run in the sixth on a homer by rookie Miguel Cabrera, his fifth.

The Braves got a run in the first when Rafael Furcal walked, stole second and scored on a double by Gary Sheffield.

Atlanta made it 5-1 with two runs in the fifth off Penny on run-scoringsingles by Marcus Giles and Chipper Jones.


Braves CF Andruw Jones left the game after grounding out to third in the fifth inning with a strained left hamstring. He’s listed as day-to-day. Jones said it was a cramp and that he expects to play Friday against Montreal. … Chipper Jones’ RBI single in the fifth was his 898th of his career, breaking a tie with Hank Aaron for No. 2 on the Atlanta franchise list. DaleMurphy had 1,143.

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